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Full text of "Khalsa v. Associated Toronto Taxi-Cab Co-operative Limited (Co-Op Cabs), Board of Inquiry, May 1980 BOI 113"

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IN THE MATTER OF THE ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS CODE 

AND 

IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT OF MR. GURUFATHA 
KHALSA OF TORONTO, ONTARIO, ALLEGING DISCRIMINATION 
IN EMPLOYMENT BY ASSOCIATED TORONTO TAXI-CAB CO- 
OPERATIVE LIMITED (CO-OP CABS) , 56 KING STREET WEST 
TORONTO, ONTARIO. 



DECISION 



MAY 16, 1980 



E.J. RATUSHNY 
BOARD OF INQUIRY 



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IN THE MATTER OF THE ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS CODE 

AND 

IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT OF MR. GURUFATHA 
KHALSA OF TORONTO, ONTARIO, ALLEGING DISCRIMINATION 
IN EMPLOYMENT BY ASSOCIATED TORONTO TAXI-CAB CO- 
OPERATIVE LIMITED (CO-OP CABS) , 560 KING STREET WEST 
TORONTO, ONTARIO. 

DECISION 

On the 9th day of January, 1980, I was appointed a 
board of inquiry to inquire into the complaint made by Mr. 
Gurufatha Khalsa that he was discriminated against in employ- 
ment because of his creed in contravention of section 4(1) (a) 
of the Ontario Human Rights Code . 

The facts are not in dispute. Mr. Khalsa is a Sikh 
by religion and it is a central tenet of that faith that 
adherents not cut their hair or shave their beards. Upon 
applying for a position as a taxi driver with the respondent, 
Mr. Khalsa was informed that he could not be considered since 
it was the long-standing policy of the company not to hire 
men with beards or long hair. There is no suggestion of malice 
or intended discrimination on the basis of religion on the part 
of the respondent. The policy was considered to be beneficial 
for business reasons in the company's relation with the public. 

After the complaint had been filed, the respondent 
sought legal advice and was informed that the discriminatory 
consequences of the policy to persons in Mr. Khalsa 's position 



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constituted a contravention of the Code. The respondent took 
a conciliatory position and was prepared to settle the matter. 
The respondent indicated a willingness to display in a conspi- 
cuous place on its premises a notice of the company's intention 
to abide by the Ontario Human Rights Code . The respondent was 
also prepared to send a letter of apology to the complainants 
and the draft of such a letter was filed with the board. 

The respondent was prepared to receive a renewed 
application from the complainant. However, the complainant 
no longer wishes to apply for the position. Counsel for the 
respondent argued that an award of monetary compensation was 
not appropriate since the respondent had acted without malice 
or intention to discriminate. Neither the complainant nor the 
Commission requested that an order of compensation be included 
in the order. 

The complainant sought to be represented by his agent, 
Mr. Gurutej Khalsa and the board permitted him to participate 
in the proceedings. His basic objection was not with respect 
to the proposed terms of the settlement but with the basis 
upon which the contravention of the Code had been established. 
He asked this Board to decide not only that there was a con- 
travention of the Code in relation to the complainant by virtue 
of his religion but also to hold that the term "creed" was 
broad enough to encompass any conscientious belief that the 
hair of a person's body should not be cut, even where that 
belief did not have a religious component. 



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The Board ruled that it would be inappropriate to 
hear representations on that issue in this case since to do 
so would be beyond the mandate granted by the Board's Appoint- 
ment with reference to the provisions of the Code. 

I have therefore decided, pursuant to section 14 c. (a) 
of the Ontario Human Rights Code that the respondent has con- 
travened that Act. In view of the position taken by the parties, 
I order that: 

(1) The respondent display in a conspicuous place on its 
premises, a notice of the company's resolve to abide by 
the Ontario Human Rights Code ; and 

(2) The respondent send a letter of explanation and apology 
to the complainant and to the Commission; 

(The letter should be in the form of the draft letter 
which was discussed by the parties at the hearing and 
amended as a result) . 

I am grateful to counsel and to Mr. Gurutej Khalsa 
for the direct and lucid manner in which they expressed their 
respective positions. 

Dated this 16th day of May, 1980. 



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